Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing.
And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.
And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.
And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.
Rylie has some thoughts about the elder son.
“But he spoke back to his father, ‘Look, all these years I have worked for you like a slave, and I have never disobeyed your orders. What have you given me? Not even a goat for me to have a feast with my friends!” (Luke 15:29, GNB)
In the parable of the Prodigal Son, the elder brother had serious personal issues! Not only against his younger brother who had been out running wild and blowing a fortune, but also against his father — who welcomed the ragged boy back home with open arms.
What was his problem?
Simply this — he saw himself more as a slave, instead of a son. That’s what religion will do to a soul. It will fill you with an ever-deepening sense of inadequacy, which in turn drives you to reach higher and higher in an effort to perform so as to finally become accepted. And, it inflames you with a raging jealousy against anybody who seems to get in without having to pay the price you have had to pay.
I’ve often wondered how the story would have turned out if the elder brother had met the prodigal returning home before the father had seen him. “You’ve got a lot of nerve showing your sorry face around here,” I can hear him say. “You know you broke dad’s heart, don’t you? And thanks to you, my load of work has doubled! Why don’t you just turn around and go back where you’ve been!”
And I also wonder if the reason the younger brother ran off was to get away, not from his father (who was clearly loving and good), but rather to get away from his controlling older brother.
Jesus asked a most pointed question —
“Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt?”
(Luke 6:42, the Message).
Yep, the Bible got it right when it said,
“It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face
and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own.”
(Matthew 7:3, the Message).
Should we check a mirror . . . today?
Luke 6:42 Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye. KJV
Matthew 7:3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
Let us ‘Walk in Grace’ together
for there is ‘Joy in the Journey and Good Times in the going’.